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[OriginsTalk] Re: Quoting me out of context

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  • Susan Cogan
    ... God can do anything he wants, create any way he feels like doing it. He could have done it just like we observe it or he could has zapped it all into
    Message 1 of 9 , May 1, 2007
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      > Phil: "...theistic evolution...is perfectly consistent with
      >darwinian mechanisms."
      > This brings to mind the words of Discovery Institute fellow David
      >Klinghoffer, who aptly observed: "...thinkers who have tried to assert the
      >compatibility of God and Darwin invariably end up changing the meaning of
      >one or the other. Those, for example, who say that God may operate through
      >the medium of Darwinian evolution have resorted to a logical fallacy.
      >Again, the whole purpose of Darwin's theory is to discover a model by which
      >life could have evolved without a need for God. Anyone asserting a
      >full-bodied Darwinism has, by definition, rendered God superfluous and

      God can do anything he wants, create any way he feels like doing it.
      He could have done it just like we observe it or he could has zapped
      it all into existence looking billions of years old sort of like a
      faux finish on an end table.

      > Theism has always held that God played the key role in life's
      >origin and development. Darwinism holds that all roles in life's
      >development were played by unintelligent material causes (principally,
      >random mutations and natural selection). If Darwinism is true, the phrase
      >"theistic evolution" is an oxymoron, notwithstanding all the illogical
      >attempts to reconcile Darwinism with theism.

      And you don't think God is smart enough to design such a system?
      We're talking about a being who supposedly created the universe. If
      he wrote the natural laws, the fact that life follows those natural
      laws should not come as a huge shock.

      >Those who argue for theistic
      >evolution (which, if the adjective "theistic" means anything, must be
      >teleological) are arguing against Darwinian evolution (which is thoroughly
      >nonteleological), although they're often oblivious to that fact. Their
      >logical error lies in insisting that Darwinian evolution is a true account
      >of life's development, but unguided (or nonteleological) Darwinian
      >mechanisms might have been guided by God. This amounts to insisting that
      >"A" can be "non-A" at the same time and in the same sense, which violates
      >the law of noncontradiction. Like so many of the arguments made on behalf
      >of Darwinism, the argument that Darwinian evolution is compatible with
      >theistic evolution is quite illogical.

      It would only be illogical if God has huge limitations. That is, if
      he only exists as 3000 year old sheephearders visualized him.

      At 10:42 PM -0400 4/13/07, James G. Goff wrote:
      > I'd be interested in learning what the middle ground is between
      >intelligent causes and unintelligent causes (or between evolution directed
      >towards a goal and blind, purposeless evolution).

      the excluded middle is that God created the universe with a certain
      amount of randomness built in. Otherwise there's no such thing as
      free will and therefore we can't make true moral choices.

      At 10:42 PM -0400 4/13/07, James G. Goff wrote:
      > In any event, my view (as I've previously explained) is that
      >Darwinists have fairly persuasively shown that Darwinian mechanisms can
      >produce microevolution (or minor adaptive changes in organisms), although
      >after some 150 years of searching for evidence of the creative powers of
      >random mutations and natural selection, all they have to point to are
      >bacteria adapting to antibiotics, insects adapting to insecticides,
      >adaptive changes in the size of finches' beaks, and adaptive changes in the
      >coloration of peppered moths. Skeptics of Darwinism's more grandiose
      >macroevolutionary claims (such as the claim that Darwinian mechanisms
      >caused men to evolve from fish) are fully justified in regarding this
      >evidence as far less than "overwhelming, compelling, and unassailable."
      >Some might even call it laughable in comparison to the claims it's supposed
      >to validate.

      Nothing else needs to be proved. Evolution is branching. The
      antibiotics, insects, etc. just show the beginnings of those
      branchings. You are trying to convince us that a new branch on a tree
      isn't going to grow. "Look! It's only 1/4 inch long! You're trying to
      convince me it's going to grow to 20 feet and make even more
      branches? Hahahaha! You must take me for a fool." The only
      illustration in the Origin of Species is a drawing of a branching
      tree structure. Yep. Those branches are going to grow.

      Bacteria reproduce by dividing. That means that they are all
      identical. They are clones of each other. When they "adapt" they do
      so my mutating new genes. So do the insects. There are 13 (I think)
      species of finch on the Galapagos. It's pretty obvious (remember DNA
      testing?) that they all were originally one species and have evolved
      to their present diversity. That's a tad more than "adaptation."

      At 10:42 PM -0400 4/13/07, James G. Goff wrote:
      >Darwinian evolution is unguided and purposeless.
      >If Darwinian evolutionary theory is true, it logically entails that God
      >either played no role in life's evolution or He does not exist.

      Evolution follows the laws of physics. Supposedly God created those.
      Don't you think he knew in advance how they would work? What they
      would produce? This is like saying that if a car moves without being
      pushed by a person, Henry Ford didn't exist.

      At 10:42 PM -0400 4/13/07, James G. Goff wrote:
      > Since the claims that ID has produced no experimental results or
      >testable hypotheses are both false,

      you keep saying that and yet we don't hear about any of those
      experiments or how the "God did it" hypothesis can be tested. Behe's
      Black Box is just an entire apology (cribbed from earlier
      creationists) for God of the gaps. "We don't understand this so God
      did it." Dembski's probability calculations (cribbed from earlier
      creationists) just boil down to "this is improbable, so God did it"
      which is also God of the gaps.

      In order for ID to stand as a theory it has to operate without any
      reference to evolution at all. All the "research" I've seen for ID
      consists of finding things evolution can't explain and claiming that
      proves God did it. It's the same fallacy you have committed--the
      excluded middle.

      At 10:42 PM -0400 4/13/07, James G. Goff wrote:
      >I suspect that the teeth-clenched,
      >wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth opposition of Darwinists to ID is prompted
      >primarily by two non-scientific concerns:
      > 1) Philosophical: ID theory challenges the materialistic philosophy
      >that props up Darwinism. Because ID theory is friendly to a theistic
      >worldview, it must be ridiculed into oblivion.
      > 2) Moral: Evolutionary biology (in the hands of Darwinists) must be
      >protected from any theory that points to (or implies) God's existence. If
      >God exists, we will be held accountable for the way we live our lives. But
      >there is no moral accountability in Darwinism and a lot of people like it
      >that way.

      so you are telling us explicitly that ID has no scientific challenge
      to evolution theory and that is specifically a religious apologetic.

      Yes, people do tend to get pretty testy when they are constantly
      attacked personally ("there is no moral accountability in
      Darwinism"). Attacking the scientists personally is a sure sign of a
      failed pseudoscience. Real science just begins to pile up the
      evidence. It wouldn't matter if your opponent goes on romantic dates
      with puppies, there is either evidence or there isn't. If scientists
      reject ID on moral grounds, why don't all the Christian evolutionists
      do that?

      At 10:42 PM -0400 4/13/07, James G. Goff wrote:
      > You should notify SETI researchers that since the intelligent
      >beings they're looking for are not known to be humans, they're not engaged
      in science. . . . There is no designer in ID theory, which
      focuses on the detection
      >of design, not on the identity or nature of the designer.

      they are looking for signals that resemble human signals. Anything
      else will not be intelligible to us. And if they *do* find such a
      signal they will not refuse to speculate about the authors of those
      signals! Not a single one of them will say "We aren't addressing who
      sent the signal, only that it came from an Intelligent Signaler."
      That's because SETI isn't a con game.

    • Susan Cogan
      ... so what? Why on earth do you care about their religious opinions? this has nothing to do with the science of evolution. Argue against atheism if you like
      Message 2 of 9 , May 1, 2007
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        > >Phil S:
        >>What's amazing is that you've just quoted me out of context in broad
        >>daylight, with my original post right above your quote.
        >Really, what's amazing is that you'd stoop to accusing me
        >of quoting you "out of context" in view of the context in
        >which the quote at issue was written. See
        >>I never asserted that "we are not the object of some special intent...".
        >>I said that it's a "hard pill to swallow to imagine" such a thing. I
        >>made no particular statement about whether we are, or are not, the object
        >>of some special intent. Modern evolutionary biology doesn't make any such
        >>statement either. But I have found that creationists & IDers have
        >>consistently tried to portray "Darwinists" as materialists who believe
        >>in a
        >>meaningless, random universe. It's as if they are afraid of the
        >>that the universe may not have been created with us in mind. That, I
        >>is the motive behind the anti-evo / anti-Darwin movement. The name of the
        >>game is to attack any theory that doesn't affirm their belief and to
        >>it as a materialist ideology.
        >Charles ["Oh you materialist!"] Darwin himself and
        >generations of _honest_ Darwinists have made it quite
        >abundantly clear that they are "materialists who
        >believe in a meaningless, random universe." Alfred
        >Russel Wallace and Darwin parted ways re: the origin
        >of humankind, Wallace denying that his and Darwin's
        >theory of evolution explains the genesis of man. So
        >distressed by Wallace's blasphemy was Darwin [Darwin
        >responded to Wallace's "betrayal" by writing: "I hope
        >you have not murdered too completely your own and my
        >child."] that he penned _The descent of man_ to
        >persuade the world that "everything human -- language,
        >morality, religious sense, maternal affection,
        >civilization, appreciation of beauty -- had emerged
        >from animals." [Janet Browne / _Darwin's origin of
        >species_ / Atlantic Monthly Press / 2006 / p111.]
        >The current generation of Darwinian biologists is
        >as convinced as Darwin and the architects of the
        >modern synthesis that there is no "underlying plan
        >or purpose [divine or otherwise] built into the
        >universe, that "man is the result of a purposeless
        >and natural process that did not have him in mind."

        so what? Why on earth do you care about their religious opinions?
        this has nothing to do with the science of evolution. Argue against
        atheism if you like (but not with me) and stop pretending that
        atheism and evolution are the same thing.

        > >It's as if they are afraid of the possibility that the universe may
        >>not have been
        >>created with us in mind. That, I think, is the motive behind the
        >>anti-evo /
        >>anti-Darwin movement. The name of the game is to attack any theory
        >>that doesn't
        >>affirm their belief and to portray it as a materialist ideology.
        >And I think you're trying [and abysmally failing] to
        >kill the messenger. Your assertions are intellectually
        >and logically indefensible.
        >It's as if you're afraid that the universe may have been
        >created with us in mind....

        I don't really care one way or the other. It's irrelevant to science
        in general and to evolution in particular. However, YOU clearly care.
        You care so much that you'd rather destroy most of western science
        than endure someone with a different opinion.

        > >Phil S:
        >>I care about accurately portraying a well accepted theory in science.
        >>I have no idea of whether we are the object of a specific intent or
        >>just the contingent result of natural laws taking their course.
        >And IDers and creationists care about whether what you
        >describe as a "well-accepted theory in science"
        >"accurately portray[s]" biological reality -- which we
        >have every right to care about, to challenge and
        >question, just as you have every right to believe
        >Darwin's theory of evolution is the truth, the whole
        >truth, and nothing but the truth.

        you are restating this as if it weren't obvious.

        > >Frankly, I don't think it is possible to tell either way, and I
        > >definitely don't think the question can be answered by employing the
        >>empirical methods of science.
        >Well, what _you_ think is quite beside the point.

        well, that's settled.

        >At issue
        >is whether the modern incarnation of Darwin's theory of
        >evolution and the scientists who subscribe to it "think"
        >"Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles
        >Darwin understood perfectly. 1] No gods worth having exist;
        >2] no life after death exists; 3] no ultimate foundation for
        >ethics exists; 4] no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5]
        >human free will is nonexistent." ~ William Provine* /
        >_Evolution: free will and punishment and meaning in life" /
        >1998 / Darwin Day Keynote Address.

        this is a religious opinion, not a scientific one. Who cares what
        Provine's religious opinions are?

        >I look forward to your answers to the questions
        >you've most recently ignored:
        >The moral dilemmas that the DARWINIST scientists asked test
        >subjects to answer are damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-
        >don't / lose-lose nightmares, like "You have two kids, ages
        >8 and 5. You can surrender one of them within 24 hours or
        >the doctor will kill both. What is the right thing to do?"
        >Do you honestly think that only a brain-damaged /
        >"abnormally utilitarian" person would, if ACTUALLY facing
        >that dilemma, condemn both of his children to death if he
        >could save one or the other?

        I, myself, thought it was a stupid test. They need to read Sophie's Choice.

        >How are those who question "evolutionary biologists'"
        >claims any less "thrilled at discovering how the 'Great
        >Spirit' works in the natural world" than you are?
        >Why do you assert that those who question "evolutionary
        >biologists'" claims "recoil because it challenges their
        >preconceived finite image of God?"

        Those who "question" evolutionary biology don't do it for scientific
        reasons. The science is solid. Therefore there is another motive to
        reject it. That motive has always been to preserve Biblical
        literalism. Lately that's been translated into a strawman fight
        against atheism. You are given two and only two options: Biblical
        literalism or atheism. If you reject biblical literalism and embrace
        science, you are an atheist. Period. 99% of what you argue about and
        100% of what Alan and James argue about is atheism/theism. Why? Why
        bring it up at all if "it's all about the science."?

        >Why do you assert that the non- / anti-Darwinist's "image
        >of God" is _preconceived_ [as opposed to your / the
        >Darwinist's "image of God," which is apparently a
        >Why is the non- / anti-Darwinist's God "finite?"

        because he appears to be unable to use evolution to do his creating.

        >And, really, what does my contention [per Ernst Mayr] that
        >Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations
        >have to do with _atheism_, or the religious beliefs of
        >those who do not subscribe to the Darwinist philosophy of

        because science is a study of the natural world. All science. Even
        biology. It's not a religious activity. You can engage in a
        non-religious activity and not be an atheist. I bet you do it a
        couple times a day.

        >You have written that "one's mind can have non-material causes at
        >work along with the physical workings of neurons which have
        >evolved" [04.03.07]. Why, if man's not "specially endowed," would
        >immaterial causes be "at work?" Or are immaterial causes at work
        >universally? And, if man's not "the object of some special intent,
        >but rather the contingent result of an infinite number of possible
        >creatures that could have evolved in our place," aren't "non-
        >material" causes quite superfluous?

        certainly. But don't you think a God who isn't limited can foresee
        the outcome? Do you think it really mattered to him that we descended
        from apes and not dinosaurs? Assuming a creature that can detect his
        presence and form a relationship with him, I doubt that it matters
        what our physical bodies looked like. A certain amount of randomness
        has to be built into the system or we don't have free will and can't
        make true moral choices.

        At 4:14 AM -0500 4/14/07, Clare Wilson Parr wrote:
        >Darwinism showed God the door a century and a half ago.

        science showed God the door a heck of a lot longer ago than that! As
        our knowledge progresses, God retreats further and further into the
        gaps. The history of the human race is a story of people using God
        less and less to explain the workings of the natural world. God
        doesn't make rainbows, earthquakes, lightning bolts, or volcanos. God
        doesn't cause disease or blight the crops, withhold or bring the
        rain. We now understand how all that stuff works and we know it's not
        God doing it. The history of life on earth is exactly the same. We
        now know a lot more about that history and we don't need to invoke
        God to make it make sense. If that makes you feel like life is
        chaotic and without purpose that's too darn bad. Life doesn't owe you
        meaning and purpose. You're going to have to work that out yourself.



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